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Nature and Society

The field of research focusing on "Nature and Society" seeks to understand society's attitudes and behaviors as it relates to how we maintain, protect, and enhance natural and cultural resources. It does so by applying data and information from social sciences to resource issues to explain why people value certain resources and the benefits they receive from those resources.

Human Dimensions Home Page ImageConservationists recognize the critical need of integrating human values and cultural resources into natural resource management and planning to create more sustainable landscapes for wildlife and human communities. The Appalachian LCC has been at the forefront in delivering a suite of resources and coordinating expert-driven discussions on approaches to engage society and facilitate the incorporation of human values and behaviors into natural resource and land-use decisions.

To achieve this integration between cultural and natural resources, partners are coming together to identify shared goals and objectives among the natural and cultural resource communities within the Appalachians and address barriers that must be overcome to integrate, engage, and achieve the broader vision of landscape conservation. We must begin to integrate cultural values into the overarching goals and objectives of landscape conservation and communicate these goals to target audiences. Identifying the various approaches, tools, and resources this community offers and building awareness within the Appalachian conservation community of these resources will be essential in achieving a sustainable landscape.

In this section of the Appalachian LCC Web Portal, users can navigate through thematic areas focused on:

  • Cultural Resources are places and things that society values such as historic bridges and Civil War Battlefields. Find information about our research project that is integrating cultural resources into landscape conservation planning and understand more about cultural landscapes.
  • Heritage is the rich legacy of both natural and cultural resources that are a vibrant aspect of the Appalachian landscape. Find information and resources that pertain to the National Park Service Natural Heritage Areas - places where natural, cultural, and historic resources combine to form a cohesive, nationally important landscape - as well as where these Heritage Areas are found across the Appalachian LCC region.
  • Urban Initiatives focuses on areas and opportunities available to cities to experience nature first-hand in the unique places within and surrounding our ever-expanding urban communities. It also highlights approaches to engage urban populations in exploring the wonders of nature found in and around cities and towns.
  • Socioeconomics presents information on how economic activity affects and is shaped by natural resources. This section includes resources developed through the "Southern Appalachian Man and the Biosphere" foundation and other efforts to promote the environmental health and stewardship of natural, economic, and cultural resources across the Appalachian geography.

inviteOne of the anomalies of modern ecology is the creation of two groups, each of which seems barely aware of the existence of the other. One studies the human community, almost as if it were a separate entity, and calls its findings sociology, economics and history. The other studies the plant and animal community and comfortably relegates the hodge-podge of politics to the liberal arts. The inevitable fusion of these two lines of thought will constitute the outstanding advance of the present century.Aldo Leopold, 1935.

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